Yoga philosophy tells us to connect with our breath, settle our minds, and move with purpose. Nowhere in the yoga texts does it say we need to do any of that within the parameters of a 24” X 68” rectangle. Despite that, yoga lovers are extremely committed to that rectangle. We pamper our mats, we buy them fancy bags and carry them around with us, and we feel most alive when we’re on them.
This devotion to our practice on a rigid shape, leads us to orient all our movement on our frontal plane. We sometimes move our arms around a bit, but we largely confine ourselves to moving forward and backwards only. What if yoga didn’t have to be that way? What if we challenged ourselves to create embodied movement in every orientation?
Breaking out of this rectangle is one of the reasons that I’m such a huge fan of aqua yoga. When you practice yoga in the pool, there’s obviously no mat but there’s also no visual restriction of your space. You can move in a full 360 degrees. A sun salutation in the pool does not have to be about stepping back for every sun salutation, you can step in any direction. The water both supports and resists you. That’s an opportunity to explore new possibilities in movement for your practice. If each posture was an exploration of movement, instead of a replication of form, what would you learn about yourself?
All you need for aqua yoga is a swimsuit, a pool and some creativity. Take your practice into the pool sometime. Explore what postures feel like in the water. Once you have a little comfort with traditional yoga in the water, try breaking out of the rectangle. See where that new challenge takes you. What new shapes can you find?